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BEYOND THE LETTER OF THE LAW

Essays on Diversity in the Halakhah

2004 - ISBN 0-929699-16-5

Contents

Moshe Zemer: An Appreciation - Walter Jacob ...............................................................................................1

German Romanticism and the Jews: The Intellectual Basis for Halakhic Reform - Peter Haas ............................4

Against Method: Liberal Halakhah Between Theory and Practice - Mark Washofsky ....................................17

A It is Time to Act for the Lord:@ Toward a Hermeneutics for Progressive Halakhah - Peter Knobel ................78

Halakhah and the Modern Temper - Jack Cohen ...........................................................................................92

Writing Responsa: A Personal Journey - Walter Jacob ....................................................................................103

Ethics Versus Ritual - John D. Rayner ............................................................................................................119

On the Standard of Holiness in Jewish Law - Jonathan Cohen ........................................................................142

Tzedakah: Aspiring to a Higher Ethic - Daniel Schiff .......................................................................................156

Rabbi Eliyahu Guttmacher on Conversion - David Ellenson .............................................................................178

The Responsa of Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof: A Reappraisal - David Golinkin .................................................190

The Rabbinic Riddle - Louis Jacobs ................................................................................................................202

Contributors

Jack Cohen has served on the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Reconstructionist Rabbinic College, and the David Yellin College of Education as well as Rabbi of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. He is the author of seven books, among them A Case for Religious Naturalism (1954), Jewish Education in a Democratic Society (1964), Guides for an Age of Confusion (1999), and Major Philosophies of Jewish Prayer in the Twentieth Century (2000). He and his wife reside in Israel.

Jonathan Cohen is an IsraeliB born scholar who directs the Center for the Study of Contemporary Moral Problems at the Hebrew Union College and as Assistant Professor of Talmud and Halakhic literature. He holds degrees from the University of Kent and the University of Liverpool. He has written on Jewish law and ethics.

David Ellenson is President of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and I. H. and Anna Grancell Professor of Jewish Religious Thought at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles, California on whose faculty he has been since 1979. He is the author of numerous essays on Jewish thought and has contributed to a multi-volume commentary on the prayer book. His books include Tradition in Transition (1989), Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer and the Creation of a Modern Jewish Orthodoxy (1990), Between Tradition and Culture: The Dialectics of Modern Jewish Religion and Identity (1994) After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity (2004), Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice (2007).

David Golinkin is the President of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem where he also served as professor of Jewish law. He is the longB time chair of the Vaad Halakhah of the Rabbinic Assembly of Israel. He is the author or editor of eighteen books, including Responsa of the Va= ad Halakhah (1990), Halakhah for Our Time: A Conservative Approach (1992), The Responsa of Louis Ginzberg (1996), Rediscovering the Art of Jewish Prayer, The Status of Women in Jewish Law (1998).

Peter Haas holds the Abba Hillel Silver Chair of Religious Studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland; previously he has held a professorship at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of Morality After Auschwitz (1988), Recovering the Role of Women: Power and Authority in Rabbinic Jewish Society (1992), and Responsa: A Literary History of the Genre (1996).

Walter Jacob is President of the Abraham Geiger College in Berlin/Potsdam; Senior Scholar of Rodef Shalom Congregation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; President of the Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah and the Associated American Jewish Museums. Author, editor, or translator of thirty-six books including Christianity through Jewish Eyes (1974), American Reform Responsa (1983), The Pittsburgh Platform in Retrospect (1985), Liberal Judaism and Halakhah (1988), The Second Book of the Bible: Exodus Interpreted by Benno Jacob (1992), Die Exegese hat das erste Wort (2002), Pursuing Peace Across the Alleghenies (2005), Hesed and Tzedakah - From the Bible to Modernity (2006), Napoleonís Influence on Jewish Law (2007), and more than twelve hundred published essays and sermons.

Louis Jacobs was a leading British rabbi and theologian and founder of the New West End Synagogue in London. He currently lectures at University College in London and at Lancaster University; he has taught at Jews= College. He is the author of numerous essays and more than twenty books, including Studies in Talmudic Logic and Methodology (1961), Faith (1968), A Jewish Theology (1973), Teyku B The Unsolved Problem in the Babylonian Talmud (1981), and The Talmudic Argument (1984).

Peter Knobel is President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, rabbi of Beth Emet, Evanston, Illinois. He is chair of the Liturgy Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and past president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis. He is the author of papers on assisted suicide, homosexuality, and spirituality among other subjects; he is editor of Gates of the Season (1983), Duties of the Soul: The Role of Commandments in Liberal Judaism (1999), and the new American Reform prayer book.

John Rayner was the Distinguished Lecturer in Liturgy and Codes at the Leo Baeck College, London, and rabbi emeritus of the Liberal Synagogue in London. He is the author of Understanding Judaism (1996), A Jewish Understanding of the World (1997), Jewish Religious Law: A Progressive Perspective (1999), and many essays. He has been a major contributor to the creation of British and American liturgies.

Daniel Schiff is rabbi of the Agency for Jewish Learning in Pittsburgh. He is rabbi of Temple B= nai Israel in White Oak, Pennsylvania. Born in Australia, he was educated at the University of Melbourne and the Hebrew Union CollegeB Jewish Institute of Religion from which he was ordained and received his doctorate. Daniel Schiff is the author of essays on halakhic topics and of Abortion in Judaism (2002), a study that deals with this question across denominational lines.

Mark Washofsky is the Solomon B. Freehof Professor of Jewish Law, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Chair of the Responsa Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He has published numerous studies in the field of Jewish law and legal theory. He is the editor of Teshuvot for the Nineties (1997), and author of Jewish Living and Practice (2000).

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